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Biographical entry Nielubowicz, Jan (1915 - 2000)

MD Jozef Pilsudski 1939; Hon FRCS 1980.

28 October 1915
2 February 2000
Warsaw, Poland
General surgeon and Transplant surgeon


Jan Nielubowicz was professor of surgery at the Insitute of Surgery at the Hospital of the Infant Jesus in Warsaw. He was born in German-occupied Warsaw during the First World War on 28 October 1915, the son of Kazimierz and Wanda Nielubowicz. He came from a medical family: his father was a surgeon and urologist in Warsaw, and his grandfather, Wlayslaw Nielubowicz, was a surgeon and director of a hospital in Kremenchuk in Ukraine. Jan Nielubowicz attended high school in Warsaw, but in 1929 his father died and his mother decided to move to Vilnius, Lithuania. In Vilnius Nielubowicz graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of Vilnius.

In 1936 he returned to Warsaw, and continued his studies at the Jozef Pilsudski University. He graduated in March 1939, and during the Second World War worked as a doctor, first in Vilnius and Kaunas, and then, from 1943, as the only doctor in a small hospital in Valozhyn, in what is now Belarus.

When the Second World War ended, he returned to Warsaw and started working in the department of surgery at the Hospital of the Infant Jesus, where his father had worked. He became an associate professor of surgery in April 1962 and a professor in July 1970. From 1974 to 1986 he was director of the Institute of Surgery at the Hospital of the Infant Jesus. From 1981 to 1986 he was president of the Medical University of Warsaw.

In 1947 he defended his doctoral thesis on phlegmon of the stomach and intestines. His post-doctoral research was on acute necrosis of the liver. From 1958, thanks to a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship, he spent a year in the department of surgery at Harvard. Back in Warsaw, he helped reform Polish surgery, introducing new techniques and encouraging scientific research. In 1966 he carried out the first sucessful tranplantation (a kidney transplant) in Poland.

Jan Nielubowicz was a member of 14 international scientific socieities, and in 1980 became an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. He gained honorary degrees from six Polish medical schools. In 1997 he received the Commander with Star of the Order of St Pope Sylvester from the Pope, and in 1990 the Grand Cross of the Order of the Rebirth of Poland.

Jan Nielubowicz died on 2 February 2000, aged 84.

Sarah Gillam

Sources used to compile this entry: [Wikipedia Jan Nielubowicz - accessed 7 August 2014].

The Royal College of Surgeons